Australia captain Tim Paine lamented his side’s ongoing batting woes after they sank to an eight-wicket defeat at the MCG against India, which put the series on an even footing at 1-1 with two Tests to go.
The home side scraped to 200 – for the first time in the series – in their second innings, but could go no further than that, setting India a target of just 70, which was achieved with ease. That followed first-innings totals of 191 and 195 in the two matches, with Melbourne being the first time since 1988 that Australia have not had an individual half-century in a home Test.
“We are very disappointed, we played pretty poor cricket, pretty sloppy cricket, for the majority of the match,” Paine told the host broadcaster after the match. “That’s to take nothing away from India; they put us under pressure and forced us into making a number of mistakes, especially with the bat, and in the field, and when you do that against good side it makes it very hard to win.
“You’ve got to give the Indian attack credit, they’ve bowled beautifully to us, there’s no doubt about that. We haven’t adapted as well as we would have liked. As a batting group, there’s no doubt we are very disappointed with what we’ve put up in the first two Test matches, but there’s still two to go so we’ll work hard and try to rectify it for the next Test.”
Australia would be desperate for the return of David Warner, who has spent time netting at the MCG during this match while he awaits his return to the bio-secure Test bubble, as he continues his recovery from the groin strain suffered in the ODI series. During the Test, Australia coach Justin Langer said Warner was not certain for the third match but the continued batting problems of the incumbents may force the selectors’ hands.
One glimmer for Australia was the performance of Cameron Green in the second innings, as he made a composed 45 in nearly three hours at the crease.
“Think he’s started his career really well,” Paine said. “We knew the talent he’s got, we can see the temperament he’s got, and with more and more Test cricket he’s going to blossom into a pretty outstanding player, which is exciting for us as a team and the Australian public to watch.”
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